While a decision was deferred on the National Food Security in the Union Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the Minister of State (Independent) for Food and Public Distribution K.V. Thomas on Thursday indicated that the Cabinet may meet again on Sunday to discuss the legislation.
The proposed Bill provides for mandatory supply of subsidised foodgrains to up to 75 per cent of rural population and 50 per cent of urban population.
“From what I understand, a special Cabinet is coming on Sunday. We will discuss matters threadbare because it is a major bill,'' Mr. Thomas told journalists on the sidelines of a function on procurement.
States ’ feedback
However, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, also present at the same function, said the views of some States still needed to be taken on board before clearing the draft bill. He hoped a final decision would be taken in the next eight to 10 days.
Mr. Pawar was among the senior ministers who had raised certain questions in the Wednesday's cabinet meeting about the financial implications, availability of foodgrains, storage and pilferage of public distribution system foodgrains. The Bill was put off for further discussions.
He told journalists on the sidelines of a conference that the State governments needed to be taken into confidence about the food bill as they would have to implement it.
“The Centre is of the opinion that it has to take States into confidence while taking decisions on the Food Security Bill. So the discussions on this issue are on. I feel that in the next 8-10 days, a final discussion on this issue will take place and Cabinet will have a common view on it,'' he said.